They’re tender. Sweet. Aromatic. Buttery. And simply delicious. So if visions of roasted chestnuts (rather than sugar plums) are dancing in your head, it’s time to consider roasting your very own.
But…you probably don’t want to do it over an open fire (unless you really insist). Rather, in an oven. In your home. Whenever you feel like it. It’s not complicated. Or hard. Or overly time consuming either. But it’s sure worth it…down to the very last delectable bite! So without further ado, here are 5 easy steps to roasting—and enjoying—your very own chestnuts (in season from late September through late December):
Step 1: Choose the best chestnuts you can find. They should be heavy for their size with smooth, shiny, and unblemished skin. Avoid nuts that rattle or have mold on their surface (both mean they’re old). Tip: Store fresh chestnuts in your fridge for up to 1 month or in your freezer for up to 4 months. Bring to room temperature before roasting. Once roasted, they should be eaten within 4 days.
Step 2: Grasp each chestnut firmly and carefully cut a long slit across the rounded top with a sharp serrated bread knife. Be sure to cut just through the shell and into the flesh. Alternatively, you can use a sharp, pointy paring knife to cut an X on the flat side of each chestnut. Again, make sure it goes through the shell. Tip: Both methods allow the steam to escape while cooking and make peeling a lot easier.
Step 3: Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Place chestnuts in a baking pan or rimmed baking sheet (or on a heavy baking sheet) slit-side up. Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until the cuts you’ve made burst open and the visible flesh is golden brown. Tip: Occasionally shake the pan while baking to avoid burning the chestnuts.
Step 4: Remove from oven and as soon as you can handle them with a bare or gloved hand, start peeling. Remove and discard each shell and inner paper skin. Tip: Don’t wait too long until they’ve cooled because they will be much more difficult to peel then.
Step 5: Serve warm…or let cool for use as an ingredient in a favorite recipe. Either way, enjoy!